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Old 04-23-2013, 02:54 PM   #29
Don T OP
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Denmark-Europe.
Oddometer: 429
Day 8:
Boumalne Dades – Erg Chebbi – 350km.

The day started great riding the Dades gorge – the next on the list was the Todra gorge.
Here are some pictures from the morning at the kasbah, the gorges and the ride between them:

















What are they selling...?


It was still before noon when we continued east towards Erg Chebbi and the big dunes.



Halfway there we got pulled over at a police checkpoint at a junction. They told us the road we wanted to take was blocked up ahead and that we had to take a detour to get to Erg Chebbi. As the detour was twice as long as the route we had intended, we asked the officers if it in anyway was possible o get past the road block on bikes. Their answer was a bit vague, and just at that point 2 bikes came from the road that was supposed to be block. They told us that the road block was only demonstration activities and that it was possible to circumvent it. At that point the officers gave up and told us we could go which way we wanted – as long as we got going.
We decided to give it a try and continued on the blocked road.



After about 60 kilometers we arrived at the demonstration and was stopped by yet another cop who told us the road was blocked and we had to turn around. As he was telling us that another guy came up and indicated that it was possible to get by, using the side alleys trough town. We follow his instruction and started to wind our way through town using alleys sometimes not much wider than the handle bars.
Suddenly we hit a roadblock made by a larger group of boys’ (age 6-15) who wouldn’t let us pass unless we paid a toll. They were pretty aggressive and determined to get some money – pulling at us and throwing themselves in front of the bikes if we tried to move.
In the end another group of boys showed up and dragged the first group out of the way and removed some of the stones and bricks that made up the roadblock so that we could pass.

A picture from the demonstration that caused it all:



A short while later we left the tarmac for this day, as we headed for Hotel Yasmina that is located in the middle of the desert just north of the big dunes of Erg Chebbi.
Because of a small navigation error we ended up doing a bit more gravel/off road riding than planned.



The roads/tracks we were riding was often in pretty bad shape, and not ideal for a loaded V-Strom with street tires. The worst part was a several kilometer long section of washboard combined with drifts of loose sand. Only a few hundred meters from Yasmina one of those drifts got the better of Jim.







Besides a broken windscreen and a bent bracket for one of the panniers both Jim and the bike was fine. The pannier was still attached to the bike and shortly after when we arrived at Yasmina we were able to fix the bracket.





While we were working on the bike (Jim worked - I mostly just pointed and gave good advice) a sand storm kicked up. We were happy to be behind protecting walls and not still riding. It got so bad, that the hotel had to shut down the generator leaving the place without electricity.

The Stroms after a good days work:



When the bracket was fixed it was time for a dip in the pool - sand storm or not – before going to the restaurant for the mandatory mint tea follow by a 3 course dinner.



It had been yet another interesting day I Morocco.

Don T screwed with this post 04-29-2013 at 05:32 AM
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